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Medical News, July 25, 2015

Welcome back to this week’s new edition of the Medical News Summary Blog. This week has seen several new advances in the field of medicine. This week’s edition will cover health and medical news stories which occurred from the 19th July to the 25th of July 2015.

The European Medicines Agency have supported the new Malaria vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Mosquirix jab. The World Health Organisation (WHO) are due to make a final decision within the next year as to whether the vaccine will be given to children. So far clinical trials conducted on children have produced mixed results. The Mosquirix vaccine also known as, the RTS,S vaccine is the first of its kind to protect against a parasitic infection. GSK who are producing the vaccine have pledged not to make a profit from selling the vaccine. The vaccine has been designed to protect children in Africa and will not be licensed for use by travellers. Although the vaccine has been shown to cut the number of cases of severe malaria by a third in children aged 5-17 months, a booster dose of vaccine was found to be essential. In addition to this, the vaccine unfortunately did not prove to be effective at protecting young babies from severe malaria.

The number of people donating organs has fallen for the first time in 10 years. 224 fewer people received an organ transplant in the 2014/15 period than in 2013/14. This is thought to be due to the fact that less people are dying in circumstances which allow them to donate their organs to others. There has also been no increase in the rate of people signing up to the organ donor register. Of all donations made in 2014 to 2015, 1,092 were made by living donors who gave either a kidney or part of their liver whilst 3,339 gave organs after death.  The NHS Blood and Transplant group that published the report has expressed the need for the public to discuss and consider signing up for organ donation.

Scientists have found the first drug that appears to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug Solanezumab has been shown to reduce memory loss in patients with a mild form of the condition. Although the effects of the drug are extremely modest, the results of the trial have been said to be “hugely significant” as it is the first time that any drug has been shown to slow the rate that Alzheimer’s disease damages the brain. The drug is produced by the American company Eli Lilly and the data has suggested that in 1,300 patients with mild dementia those who had been given Solanezumab had a 30% slower decline in memory than those in the placebo control group.

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal Open has suggested that harmful drinking is a hidden middle class phenomenon. The research which was conducted by the chief economist at AGE UK is based on a long term study of men and women over 50 living in England. The study showed that harmful drinking in later life was more prevalent among people who had a lifestyle associated with a successful ageing process. Harmful drinking is suggested to be consuming in the range of 22-50 units a week for men and between 15-35 for women. A previous study completed by the Office for National Statistics had already shown that middle aged people were three times more likely to drink every day than younger people.

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